Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Who knew that making your own Homemade Cranberry Sauce was this quick and easy? Complete your Thanksgiving dinner with a batch of this sweet and simple cranberry sauce. Made with whole cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and just a hint of cinnamon, it’s the perfect complement to the rich, savory dishes typically part of a holiday feast. So, gather your ingredients and see just how easy this simple recipe can be!

Maybe you’re a fan of the jellied canned cranberry sauce you find at grocery stores. My parents loved it and used to serve it straight out of the can on the plate, slicing off a piece to top their stuffing or turkey (You could still see the shape of the can, ridges and all!) But once you’ve made your own cranberry sauce, you just might say goodbye to the canned stuff!


Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Why are Cranberries a Holiday Treat?

Have you ever wondered why we serve cranberry dishes primarily at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Well, beyond the fact that that gorgeous red color fits perfectly with the holiday season, cranberries are a native North American fruit that become a popular ingredient among early settlers. It probably wasn’t present at the first Thanksgiving, but traditional cranberry sauce has been found in recipes since at least the 1700s!

Cranberry Sauce became so ingrained as a popular dish that Ulysses S. Grant reportedly ordered it be served to soldiers at their Thanksgiving meal, which might just be why it’s part of our Thanksgiving recipes today!

Ingredients for Homemade Cranberry Sauce.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

You only need five simple ingredients for this tangy sauce.

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (or frozen cranberries)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

If you want a stronger cranberry flavor, use a cup of water instead of orange juice.

Process photos for Homemade Cranberry Sauce.

How to Make Whole Cranberry Sauce

This easy recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes!

First, rinse the cranberries, removing any that are damaged. Then combine the cup of orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon, and mix well. Cook the sauce for about ten minutes. The cranberries will begin to break down, so keep stirring frequently as they cook.

Remove the pan from heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. Pour it into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Note- if you prefer eating a smooth cranberry sauce, use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to puree the sauce before cooling it.

A spoonful of the best Thanksgiving side dish.

Storing Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Refrigerate any leftover sauce you have in an airtight container. It will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

To freeze, store in an airtight container or freezer bag and place in the freezer. It will stay fresh for up to one month, though you can use it anytime within a year!

Whole berry sauce made with fresh cranberries.

More Ways to Use Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are abundant this time of year, so it’s easy to find fresh ones at the grocery store. However, frozen cranberries work just as well for this recipe, so you can make this delicious cranberry sauce all year long! It pairs well with so much more than turkey and stuffing.

  • Use it as a breakfast topping for pancakes or waffles.
  • Stir it into yogurt and add some granola for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Add it to a smoothie for a sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Spread it on bread or toast like jam. I love to spread it on my leftover turkey sandwiches!
  • Use it for Cranberry Meatballs or as a glaze for Pork Tenderloin
Orange zest and a bowl of cranberry sauce.

Give Cranberry Sauce as a Gift

Cranberries are a holiday staple, so why not use them in your holiday gifting? To present this cranberry sauce as a gift, transfer a portion to a holiday-themed jelly jar. Tie a ribbon around the top (or use fabric in the lid for a cute country-style presentation), and include a gift tag!

This is perfect for neighbor gifts or as small favors for guests at a holiday party. My recipe is easy to double or triple if you want to give a bunch of gifts.

Whole cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest with a touch of cinnamon.

More Cranberry Recipes

Since cranberries can be found in just about every holiday meal, why not try mixing it up with one of these cranberry recipes?

A bowl of fresh cranberries made into a sauce.

Bottom line? When you’re preparing all your holiday treats and meals, don’t forget about the cranberry! It’s such a tasty, versatile fruit that you can use in just about anything. Find all my cranberry recipes here.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce


Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Making your own Homemade Cranberry Sauce is quick and easy using whole cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest, and just a hint of cinnamon. It’s the perfect complement to a savory holiday feast.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 130kcal
Author Lynne Feifer


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries can use fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice can substitute water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon optional


  • Rinse cranberries, picking out any that are damaged.
  • Combine the orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.
  • Add the cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon, and mix well. Cook for about 10 minutes, as cranberries begin to pop, stirring frequently.
  • Remove pan from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Put into bowl, cover and refrigerate. Sauce will thicken as it cools.


If you prefer a smooth cranberry sauce, use an immersion blender or blender to puree. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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